Worldview: Food: Changing diet

I’ve found myself gravitating toward a far more plant-based diet over the past several months than I ever thought I would. Some of that change is out of necessity because of my ever-present health concerns, but more of it is because I feel better when I’m eating less meat.

That has translated into a strange phenomenon for me. The more vegetables and fruits I eat, the less palatable meat becomes to me. I find I have to eat smaller portions of meat less frequently to avoid digestive problems.

All of that said, it’s also been a hard transition. I’ve been a meat-eater my entire life, so cutting back has had a steep learning curve for me. I also find I have no creativity when it comes to preparing plant-based meals and that adds to the struggle.

Fortunately, I’m slowly realizing the way through. We recently started purchasing plant-based, prepared means from Sprinly, and that reduces some of the creativity problem. Further, I’ve discovered that I naturally gravitate toward Mediterranian, Near Eastern, and Far Eastern plant-based dishes, so I at least have a place to look for ideas when I need them.

Are you experiencing your own changes in diet? Share your experience in the comments.

DLH

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Science and Technology: Can we talk about pocket computers for a bit?

So, here’s the thing… I know most of us think of that digital leash we carry as being a “phone”, and I guess, in some way, because of how it was manufactured, it is in some way a phone. Except, really, it’s not.

I know some people still talk on it, but if you look at the vast majority of what most people do with that thing we call a phone, the fact is it’s really a pocket computer hamstrung by the fact we keep thinking of it as a phone.

We need to stop that.

I know it’s a radical transformation in thinking, but we have these incredibly capable devices, connected to the entire world in multiple ways, yet we insist on continuing to think of it mostly as a more sophisticated version of the thing we had hanging on the wall in the 80s.

It’s not.

In fact, it is so much more than just a phone that calling it that refers to the function that is almost an afterthought compared to all the things it can do. It’s a camera. It’s a GPS. It’s a wireless messaging device. It’s a word processor, game console. video conferencing device, shopping portal…

In fact, it’s a computer. One you carry in your pocket.

If we stopped thinking of this device as a phone and started thinking of it as a computer, I suspect the way the technology would develop would be freed from the fetters of when it was only a phone and become a companion, or maybe even a replacement, for the thing sitting on our desktop or in our backpack; a device geared toward connecting us to the world and allowing us to create in ways we can only imagine right now.

Can we do that? Because I’m ready for it? Are you?

DLH

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Worldview: The Roastery at Innisfree: Ch…ch…ch…changes…

The good kind of changes.

This August, it will be five years since my wife, Keba, and I moved back to Innisfree on the Stillwater and I restarted my coffee roasting business. Since then, we’ve changed and grown, and now is time for the next change:

Starting today, I am changing my business name to The Roastery at Innisfree to better align what I am doing as a roaster with what I am doing as a farmer. The coffee won’t change. The small batch roasting won’t change. The personal service won’t change. But this change will help us focus even more on what we are doing at Innisfree.

Enjoy your coffee!

DLH

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Worldview: Farming: MENF 2011: We’re all really dirt farmers

Whether we all like it or not, we’re all dirt farmers. You don’t think so? Well, consider this the next time you’re sitting on the pot: you’re finishing the process whereby your body turns the food you have eaten into energy, nutrients, and dirt from which more food can be grown, even if we don’t like to think of it that way in the 21st century.

Dirt is the medium of exchange for life on earth. It is an amazing material, composed of hundreds and sometimes thousands of constituents all necessary for life to exist. Nearly every living thing produces dirt in some form and nearly nothing can survive without dirt to help it grow or help the things it needs to eat grow.

This idea is important because it is so foreign to modern people, especially in the west and especially in the 21st century. In this era of artificially pristine food gleaming in supermarket displays, an era dominated by the absurd reduction of food growing to chemical applications to a growth medium, we forget that all food–indeed, all life–begins and ends with the dirt.

And healthy dirt is the best kind. If dirt is the medium of exchange for life, then humans are the custodians of the exchange, and we do a really bad job. How so? For instance, as much as half the trash buried in landfills every year, 125 million tons by some estimates, is organic waste that could be composted into dirt instead of being put into a landfill. Even worse, most landfill practices prevent this waste from turning into dirt, meaning that there is waste in landfills from as long as 50 years ago that still has not decayed.

While we’re busy burying our organic waste instead of composting it, farmers are busy dumping a whopping 60 million tons of chemical fertilizer on their crops every year, most of which comes from oil or is produced using fossil fuels for energy. Farmers do this because the dirt they try to grow in is only fit for growing weeds without help.

Help that could come in the form of hundreds of millions of tons of biologically active, incredibly fertile compost if we would stop throwing it away and start putting it back where it belongs: into the dirt.

So, consider this: stop throwing your organic waste away. I’m talking about all of it: food scraps-even bones and fat, paper, cardboard, or anything like it. If it came from a plant or animal, it’s probably organic. Then, compost that stuff. If you don’t want to or can’t compost it, find someone who will and can.

It can be done. We can even compost our own waste along with the rest, ensuring that it all goes where it is supposed to go: back into the dirt where it belongs, just like it was supposed to all along.

DLH

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